Shopping in COVID times: Lifestyle brands greet at the door

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For residents of gated communities who are not keen on venturing out for shopping, the stores pitch tent where they live

If groceries can come to your doorstep, why not fabrics, furniture and footwear? That is the new shopping mantra adopted by retailers as they set up pop-up stores at gated communities to cash in on the festival season while ensuring shoppers’ safety.

Jains Inseli Park at Padur will open its club house for Pantaloons today, where the brand will be showcasing its Deepavali collection.

Over the last one month, the gated community has been playing host to one brand at a time, which includes Reliance Trends, Max and Oven Fresh.

“This is a new shopping experience where the resident need not step outside the society,” says Lavanya Veera, secretary of Inseli Park Owners’ Association. She says the feedback has been encouraging and a few brands are in discussions with the Association to set up a shop on the premises in the coming weeks.

MetroZone at Anna Nagar has had brands including Fab India, Max, Pantaloons and Bata wheeling into the community, with their mobile shopping-vans.

In some societies, these brands get to have a presence on many of the floors, and this arrangement create a sense of shopping at a store.

“I was in awe when Fab India spread its furniture series at our club house and displayed its men’s clothing in-between the furniture products. It was like walking into a store,” says a resident.

Also read: When caution is at the top of the shopping list

The criteria adopted by retailers before setting up stalls at an apartment complex include a community with more than 250 occupied flats and more than 1800 sq.ft. of space to showcase the merchandise.

An executive with Trends, who says that this is the first time they started going to communities, points out that the enthusiasm for in-community shopping is bound to wane, as people can now head to the stores itself.

“All major outlets have reopened and some people want to venture out and shop, and so we are not seeing the same kind of response that we witnessed in June-July,” says the executive. The company has set up shop at 19 gated communities so far.

The requirements have also changed. “During the lockdown, it was about offering the most essential merchandise. Now, we are required to create a store-like experience and offer niche collections,” he adds.

Some concerns

Some RWAs have raised concerns about signing up with brands to set up such stores. Prince Village — Phase I at Tondiarpet, for instance, recently decided not to allow brands as there had been a spike in COVID-19 cases in the neighbourhood. The Association did not want to be caught on the wrong foot by the virus.

Jains Inseli Park only allows one stall at a time.

“We don’t want people to crowd at the stall and we are not holding an exhibition, so we only permit one brand at the club house,” says Lavanya. Thermal screening, masks and sanitisers are a must at the venue.

“We insist that not more than five people are allowed at the spot,” she adds.



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